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5 months post concussion, will I ever recover?.. Feeling Helpless

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Unread 09-05-2010, 07:23 PM   #1
ssg7
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Default 5 months post concussion, will I ever recover?.. Feeling Helpless

Back in April 2010 I was a victim of assault and punched in the back of the head. I started to experience concussive type symptoms about a week after: Inability to concentrate, "foggy/buzzy" sensation. I seemed to be on the road to recovery about 4 weeks after the incident but i prematurely headed back to the gym and the symptoms came back.

After about another month things seemed to be getting better however i had a few drinks with some friends and again the symptoms returned. It has now been 5 months after the initial concussion and I am still getting the symptoms (though drastically lower). The worse part of it is that i am currently in professional school and it is very difficult for me to get any time off. I have taken a 2 week leave of absence hoping things will get better.

I am so worried that it has become permanent and that i will have to live with this for the rest of my life. It has been a really frustrating experience. I am constantly depressed and all i do is think about the concussion. I just want to be able to focus on school and get my life back to normal.

What are the chances of me getting better? What kind of things can I do to get better? What should i avoid? It would be nice to hear some stories of people who had symptoms pertain for so long that got better, any hope would be great.
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Unread 09-06-2010, 11:02 AM   #2
Mark in Idaho
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Sorry to hear of your injury. We're here for you.

I was assaulted in a similar way on June 23, 2000. I got whiplash and a concussion. My wife says my personality changed.

There are a few things you need to look out for. Is you neck/upper neck still symptomatic? You may need to find an Upper Cervical Chiropractor to check this out. NUCCA.org has a referral list.

How are you sleeping? Do you dream and wake up refreshed? If not, your sleep needs to improve. My neck is still a problem if I sleep with it in a bad position.

Of course, you have learned the hard way about alcohol. No more than one serving ( a beer, glass of wine, no hard liquor) per sitting. Try to limit your caffeine to one cup per day.

I swear by vitamins and other supplements to help my brain work at its best. B-6, B-12, folic acid, all of the anti-oxidants, Omega 3's, Vit D3, etc. I and others have many posts about nutrition. Do a search. The injured brain needs extra levels of these supplements, first to overcome existing deficiencies, then to heal.

The road is long and slow for some of us. Get to know the new you, at least for the present. Work with your recovering brain, not against it. Slow down in your study intensity. take breaks from the books frequently. Avoid pushing it when you feel foggy brained.

Focus on lowering your stress load. The injured brain does not heal when under stress. It needs good REM sleep and lots of it.

I hope this helps. It is easy to get over-whelmed with a concussion that persists.

My best to you.
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Mark in Idaho

59 years old, retired due to disability, married 33 years, father of three, grandfather of four, Suffered a serious concussion at 10 years old (1965) stopped most driving after last concussion at 46 years old (2001), Post Concussion Syndrome/Multiple Concussion/Impact Syndrome with PTSD, immediate and short term visual and auditory memory problems, slowed processing speed, visual and auditory processing difficulties, insomnia, absence seizures, OCD, 14 concussions since first concussion at 8 years old, Taking paroxetine for 14 years and gabapentin for 12 years. Added L-Tryptophan and successfully stopped all paroxetine after 3 months of tapering down. I currently take 500 mgs of L-Tryptophan when I wake up, 500 mgs after breakfast with my vitamin regimen and 500 mgs late in the evening.


As of Nov 15th, Due to high stress issues resulting in PTSD, my docs put me on three meds. Clonazepam (Klonopin, a dreaded benzo but only for 30 days ) .125 mgs twice daily (Doc prescribed .25 mgs twice daily but half a tablet is doing good) , citalopram (Celexa), an SSRI , and olanzapine (Zyprexa), an atypical anti-psychotic before bed. I have lost over 30 pounds since mid July. The olanzapine is supposed to help me gain some of it back but it has just stopped the weight loss. They took me off the gabapentin. I am feeling better than I have in years.

I am also taking L-Theanine to help with GABA regulation


"Be Still and Know That I am God" Psalm 46:10
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Unread 09-06-2010, 12:13 PM   #3
ssg7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark in Idaho View Post
Sorry to hear of your injury. We're here for you.

I was assaulted in a similar way on June 23, 2000. I got whiplash and a concussion. My wife says my personality changed.

There are a few things you need to look out for. Is you neck/upper neck still symptomatic? You may need to find an Upper Cervical Chiropractor to check this out. NUCCA.org has a referral list.

How are you sleeping? Do you dream and wake up refreshed? If not, your sleep needs to improve. My neck is still a problem if I sleep with it in a bad position.

Of course, you have learned the hard way about alcohol. No more than one serving ( a beer, glass of wine, no hard liquor) per sitting. Try to limit your caffeine to one cup per day.

I swear by vitamins and other supplements to help my brain work at its best. B-6, B-12, folic acid, all of the anti-oxidants, Omega 3's, Vit D3, etc. I and others have many posts about nutrition. Do a search. The injured brain needs extra levels of these supplements, first to overcome existing deficiencies, then to heal.

The road is long and slow for some of us. Get to know the new you, at least for the present. Work with your recovering brain, not against it. Slow down in your study intensity. take breaks from the books frequently. Avoid pushing it when you feel foggy brained.

Focus on lowering your stress load. The injured brain does not heal when under stress. It needs good REM sleep and lots of it.

I hope this helps. It is easy to get over-whelmed with a concussion that persists.

My best to you.
Hey thanks for all the help it is really appreciated and nice to hear from someone else who has been through it. How are you doing now? Have things improved?

Luckily for me sleep hasn't been an issue. I am feeling pretty refreshed when i wake up and sometimes it seems sleep is the only escape from all this. However with things getting busy, it seems my time to sleep can get limited.

I never had any issues with my spine in terms of pain or anything. Do you think it is still a good idea to see a chiropracter? How about exercise, i so badly want to get back to the gym.

Anyways thanks for your advice. I am definitely going to pick up some supplements.
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Unread 09-06-2010, 02:33 PM   #4
Mark in Idaho
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First off, you do not need to feel discomfort to have an upper cervical problem.

There is a BIG difference between an Upper Cervical Chiropractor and a generic chiropractor. You want to avoid any chiro who does the twist and pop neck adjustment. The C1 to cranium and C1-c2 joints can be out and not corrected by normal chiro techniques.

You can also get an injury to a major brain artery (vertebral artery) when struck at the base of the skull. Neck inflammation can slow this blood flow.

Regarding exercise, I would suggest getting a wrist type blood pressure monitor. You want to keep you BP and pulse at lower than normal exercise levels. Do a search for "buffalo" on this forum. There are plenty of posts about the Buffalo protocol for concussion.

Regarding sleep, you must make time for good sleep. You will not heal without lots of it. The neurons only heal and recuperate from the days activities during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. Bosses and instructors need to know how important good sleep is for you to heal.

If you do not allow your brain to heal, it will take years to get any better, if at all. You can't heal a torn ligament by continuing to use it under load. Same goes for your brain, except your brain does not generate new cells like structural body parts. It needs to repair the damaged cells. They can only repair will resting.

Your screen name looks like you may be military, possibly a Staff Sargent. Tri-Care should have good help for Post Concussion. It is a big problem with the troops.

Regarding my condition, I am on permanent disability. I had my first severe concussion in 1965. Since then, I have had many minor bumps and a few moderate bumps, the assault and hitting my head on an overhead beam. I have Post Concussion Syndrome from Multiple Impact Syndrome.

I have been knowingly living with PCS since 1971. My daily function is very high even though my dysfunctions are drastic. I have very little immediate or short term memory in both visual and auditory areas. I use the computer screen as my short term memory to help me keep my thoughts going. I have central sleep apnea so it is difficult to get consistent REM sleep.

I would suggest to anyone who is reading this to make every effort to avoid the next head impact. Studies show that subconcussive impacts are more problematic that the rare concussive impact. Subconcussive impact are devastating football athletes.

My best to you.

I am such a hypocrite. This evening, I will be watching the Boise State Broncos beat up on the Virginia Tech Hokies. Hope their brains survive.
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Mark in Idaho

59 years old, retired due to disability, married 33 years, father of three, grandfather of four, Suffered a serious concussion at 10 years old (1965) stopped most driving after last concussion at 46 years old (2001), Post Concussion Syndrome/Multiple Concussion/Impact Syndrome with PTSD, immediate and short term visual and auditory memory problems, slowed processing speed, visual and auditory processing difficulties, insomnia, absence seizures, OCD, 14 concussions since first concussion at 8 years old, Taking paroxetine for 14 years and gabapentin for 12 years. Added L-Tryptophan and successfully stopped all paroxetine after 3 months of tapering down. I currently take 500 mgs of L-Tryptophan when I wake up, 500 mgs after breakfast with my vitamin regimen and 500 mgs late in the evening.


As of Nov 15th, Due to high stress issues resulting in PTSD, my docs put me on three meds. Clonazepam (Klonopin, a dreaded benzo but only for 30 days ) .125 mgs twice daily (Doc prescribed .25 mgs twice daily but half a tablet is doing good) , citalopram (Celexa), an SSRI , and olanzapine (Zyprexa), an atypical anti-psychotic before bed. I have lost over 30 pounds since mid July. The olanzapine is supposed to help me gain some of it back but it has just stopped the weight loss. They took me off the gabapentin. I am feeling better than I have in years.

I am also taking L-Theanine to help with GABA regulation


"Be Still and Know That I am God" Psalm 46:10
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Unread 09-07-2010, 05:06 AM   #5
vini
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Default the assault

hello and welcome

the assault is and issue and something that may be hindering your recovery.I got my brain injury in an assault I cant remember much of it , but the fact someone else . was responsible. can really gnaw at you, and develop into ptsd or worse

cant say I have had much help in this direction . but if you can, get some help it may. clear the way for you
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Unread 09-08-2010, 11:34 AM   #6
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I truly am sorry to hear about your assault and how you are feeling now.

In your post you mentioned you are enrolled in a professional school. I am a teacher with PCS. I fell in March 2010 and have not returned this fall to teach.

Have you notified your teachers of your condition? It is important that they know. They are there to help you in your studies and make accommodations (more time while testing, even breaks if you get too tired, extensions for papers, etc.)

Go see your academic advisor also because you might be able to lighten your course load for the time being until the symptoms become less frequent. I know how important staying on tract for graduation is because I have 2 kids in college and one doing his masters.

I hope this helps. Please keep us posted and keep asking questions. I still do because there is so much to learn in order to redesign my new life after the fall.

Peace
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Unread 09-12-2010, 11:26 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the help, i really appreciate it.

I am finishing a up a 2 week leave from school in which all i did was rest and go for occasional walks. This has made a big difference. I'll be heading back to classes on monday and I will take things slowly. I will continue to take things slowly one step at a time.

Again thanks.
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Unread 10-27-2010, 09:37 PM   #8
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i have serious concussion problems as well. I am 23 years old and have had two blows to the head, both times i was pushed over backward onto the back of my head, both times hitting my head on a concrete floor and both times were associated with alcohol. last christmas was the last incident. I play competative hockey here in my city and took from xmas 2009 until october 2010 from hockey and up until last week felt i was back to normal

i played hockey last sunday and where its a full contact league i was involved in several body checks for which now I am reconcussed. I am dizzy, unfocused, headaches neck pain and really depressed. I havent seen my doctor about this but i do know that she will tell me i cant play hockey anymore and im in denial about that. I have played another game since and feel even worse today and have realised its over I cant play anymore.

both times that i hit my head was from a friend being a moron and pushing me while out partying oddly enough. Both times i went 4 or 5 months with symptoms of dizziness, headaches, i couldnt eat i would gag when i tried, memory loss, angriness, very unfocused and agitated and extreme sensitivity to sounds.

i love hockey im so bitter as to why i cannot play it anymore it isnt fair. when i drink or am hungover i feel the same gag reflex feeling i do as when i have concussion symptoms.

I feel your pain i cant physically do the thing i enjoy most in the world and im only 23 years old. I am engaged and have a life ahead of me that could potentially and probably already has been hindered by concussions.

Im going to try and take time off until xmas and hopefully try to rejoin my hockey team again if feeling normal

is it safe to say regardless of how long i take to recover if its 2 years or 6 months im going to reconcuss myself from a body check ? is it unavoidable?

depressed... id say so, say what you want that hockey isnt significant but it is to me, i live for sports. concussions are the worst. i havent been able to communicate all week at work, im so off..
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Unread 10-27-2010, 11:49 PM   #9
Mark in Idaho
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Yes, Yes and yes again.

You have already reached your limit of concussions. Being drunk during a concussion made them even worse. You body check concussions were most likely better labeled sub-concussive impacts. You will likely be sensitive to sub-concussive impacts for the rest of your life.

You likely had many previous concussions or sub-concussive impacts during a life of hockey. You just had not reached the critical mass of damage to get to where you are now. Concussions are cumulative. Sub-concussive impacts are cumulative and combine with concussions.

Too make matters worse, I would bet that you started partying with alcohol during your early teens. This is know to cause the brain to be subjected to an injury similar to a concussion, except from a chemical toxicity cause. It can contribute to your sensitivity to any kind of insult to your brain.

You and your fiancee' need to sit down and have a very serious talk. You need to decide what is acceptable behavior and recreation for your future. Time to MAN UP. Read up on living with PCS with your fiancee'. There are plenty here who can recommend good books about living with PCS.

You have so much to look forward to. Being able to be a productive husband to your future wife and a good Dad to your children far outweighs any enjoyment from hockey.

btw, I am sorry to hear you have been so injured by the irresponsible behaviors of others. PCS is a tough condition to live with.

I've been living with Post Concussion Syndrome since 1965. I wish I knew then what I know now. I can get 'reconcussed' be shaking my head NO. I know many others who have the same kind of sensitivity to quick head movements.

You also need to get some serious diagnostic work done for your neck. The injuries to your neck can make the concussion symptoms much worse.

Stay away from the booze and those who get drunk. Their poor judgment has already caused enough damage.

My best to you as you struggle with the future.
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Mark in Idaho

59 years old, retired due to disability, married 33 years, father of three, grandfather of four, Suffered a serious concussion at 10 years old (1965) stopped most driving after last concussion at 46 years old (2001), Post Concussion Syndrome/Multiple Concussion/Impact Syndrome with PTSD, immediate and short term visual and auditory memory problems, slowed processing speed, visual and auditory processing difficulties, insomnia, absence seizures, OCD, 14 concussions since first concussion at 8 years old, Taking paroxetine for 14 years and gabapentin for 12 years. Added L-Tryptophan and successfully stopped all paroxetine after 3 months of tapering down. I currently take 500 mgs of L-Tryptophan when I wake up, 500 mgs after breakfast with my vitamin regimen and 500 mgs late in the evening.


As of Nov 15th, Due to high stress issues resulting in PTSD, my docs put me on three meds. Clonazepam (Klonopin, a dreaded benzo but only for 30 days ) .125 mgs twice daily (Doc prescribed .25 mgs twice daily but half a tablet is doing good) , citalopram (Celexa), an SSRI , and olanzapine (Zyprexa), an atypical anti-psychotic before bed. I have lost over 30 pounds since mid July. The olanzapine is supposed to help me gain some of it back but it has just stopped the weight loss. They took me off the gabapentin. I am feeling better than I have in years.

I am also taking L-Theanine to help with GABA regulation


"Be Still and Know That I am God" Psalm 46:10
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Unread 10-28-2010, 07:14 PM   #10
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i have a bit of insite to offer....post concussion syndrome is really just a head injury which causes a bursting of a membrane inside the inner ear, namely the oval window or round window....which then causes the vestibular system to malfunction giving one a host of strange symptoms related to the peripheral and autonomic nervous systems manfunctioning and also vestibular sensory disturbance. doctor's just call things a syndrome when they can't figure it out...i have had surgery to fix the tear in the membrane but most people heal on thier own with bedrest, no valsava maneuvers/no straining lifting etc. and also with supplementation of wound healing accelerators like b vitamins & iron. best of luck you will heal if you allow your body the rest it needs
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